Yesterday, I listened to the Josh Marshall podcast, which was recorded on Wednesday while the news broke that Pelosi wasn’t going to have allow Gym Jordan and Gym Jr. on the 1/6 committee. Kate Riga, who covers Capital Hill for TPM, was remarkably shocked that a Democrat actually exercised power. The reason wasn’t anything ideological on her part — she simply had spent time reporting on Democrats and expected Pelosi to hold her nose and accept Jordan because Democrats generally go along to get along. You really have to listen to the podcast to hear her expressions of shock over the news.
Anyway, that got me thinking about the perceived versus real downsides of exercises of political power. Let’s consider Liz Cheney for a moment. On Wednesday, the DC press was basically writing her out of the Republican Party due to her 1/6 committee appointment. The prediction was that Kevin McCarthy will strip her of her committee assignments and basically make her an unperson, especially after she stood on the Capitol steps and said, essentially, that McCarthy wasn’t fit to be Speaker. As soon as yesterday, both McCarthy and Scalise are dodging questions about Cheney and trying to move focus away from 1/6. Here’s a woman who will exercise the power she has to the very limits of its existence.
Similarly, Mitch McConnell’s statement that no Republican will vote to increase the debt ceiling was taken very seriously by the DC press. Though he might be able to exercise that power, when has this debt ceiling bullshit ever worked for Republicans? I think it’s generally a loser, and it also might thwart McConnell’s desire to keep the filibuster, since it’s another example of how the Senate minority can basically destroy the country with almost no effort.
I don’t have a larger point here other than I think normies hearing that Pelosi exercised her power wouldn’t be shocked or surprised, and there won’t be any real consequences for it, and that a lot of the DC media power analysis gets it wrong.